What’s The Payback on Hybrid Cars?

Hybrid cars are somewhere between the flavour of the week, a status symbol, or the wave of the future. I’m not sure, because they’re certainly way out of my budget.

They’re very expensive and the one question I’ve always had is whether or not the kind of money they cost is justified, along with the huge monthly payments that come with it. Are they worth it – not in the sense of helping the environment, but in terms of our pocketbook?

There is finally a comparison of their paybacks, developed by Edmunds.com. In business that is called ROI, or return on investment. In other words, if you buy a hybrid, how long will it take to get the extra money you spent back in savings versus buying a regular gas engine.

The Ford Escape wins, hands down. The difference between an Escape with a gas engine vs. a hybrid is made back in savings after three years. That’s a reasonable time for the extra expense and coming in second was the Honda Civic.

But this will stun you. The darling of the hybrid world is certainly Toyota. But do you want to take a guess as to how many years it takes to break even on the Toyota Camry? It’s 13 years!

What about the hottest hybrid, if not in sales, then certainly in buzz, the Prius? How about 18 years! Yes, 18 years before you get your money back over the comparison gas engine. THAT is hard to justify.

Never mind that Edmunds.com didn’t take any financing into account. They only compared the cash prices of these vehicles. If you want to help the environment, that’s great and admirable. But you still have to consider what’s coming out of your pocket in the first place because: It’s Your Money!

Oh and I have one more question while we’re on the subject of vehicles. There is a manufacturer now advertising something like “even better Canadian pricing.” Then they explain they’ve taken the recent incentives and changed them to price reductions, instead.

So how does this lower prices? There was a $2,000 rebate that’s now $2,000 off the price. It’s not better pricing – it’s the same thing! And it’s called marketing! Be careful out there!!

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